Gov’t mobilizes anti-terror task force; deploys more troops in Basilan

April 14, 2010 10:34 pm 

MANILA, April 14 — In the wake of the recent bombings in Basilan, the government has mobilized the Anti-Terrorism Task Force and deployed additional security forces in the province.

In a media briefing, Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered him to oversee the operations in Basilan and call upon the Anti-Terrorism Task Force to mobilize its resources.

“Rest assured that government forces are now in hot pursuit of the bandits even as full investigations are being conducted by both the police and military,” Mendoza said. “The standing order of the President has been carried out. Every effort has been expanded to fulfill it.”

He said one battalion and a specialized unit from the Philippine Army had been deployed to reinforce the existing military troops in the province.

Mendoza said he also directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines to conduct rapid assessment and make adjustment in its military operations.

Mendoza allayed fears of possible bomb blasts in Metro Manila, saying that “violence is confined in Basilan.”

“Metro Manila is not considered threatened. There are threats but not serious,” he said. “Iba ang dynamics dito. Mahigpit ang ipinatutupad na security checks.”

Mendoza further said that with its reduced number, the Abu Sayyaf group could not stage attacks simultaneously in different areas.

“We believe this is just a desperate move to demand continuing recognition since their rank has been diminished substantially. Since the detonation was premature, we see that the operators are quite amateurs,” he said.

Underscoring the importance of timely information in preempting terrorist attacks, Mendoza appealed to the public to help security forces by reporting any suspicious activities in their areas. “The Filipino people should remain vigilant. This is not just the job of the government,” he said

Asked if these attacks were election-related, the Executive Secretary said there is no confirmation yet but assured that the security forces are “ready for any eventualities.”

“We are ready. Nakalatag na ang tropa natin diyan… The detonation was premature because of the immediate response of our police and military,” he said. (PNA)

scs/OPS/ssc

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